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Fenton Street Market (May 2012)

Location: Silver Spring, MD

Day of the Week: Saturday

Weather: Sunny with a gentle breeze

Organization: Excellent! Lots of information before the event, porters available for hire during the event, and event staff throughout the market to answer questions.

Crowd Size: Decent crowd.  Not large, but steady.

Crowd Make-Up: A good mix of families with children and adults with dogs. Not as many elderly.

Booth Fee: $50 for a 10′ x 10′ space

Today at the Fenton Street Market, I sold more product than ever before!  It might have been due to the fact that there were only two soap makers there (a lovely lady from BEST, in fact), but I’m chalking it up to good organization, extensive advertising, and great weather!  I almost sold out of a couple of things!  I had steady business for the entire 6 hours and had nice conversations with plenty of browsers.

I showed up early because I wasn’t sure about the drive, but the event staff were already ready to go and helped me get set up quickly.  There was free parking for the truck (hallelujah!) and a nice porter named Jeremy to help me set up the tent.  It was in a nice part of town and we were surrounded by businesses.  I’ve never been in such a busy part of town.  Even in Annapolis, the streets were so blocked off for the festival that we didn’t get much random business traffic there. In contrast, today I met people who saw us out of their windows and on their way to do their normal shopping.

Once again, one of the vendors who was supposed to be my neighbor didn’t show so I was left with a beautifully set up booth and customers wandering around the side where they weren’t supposed to be.  It is so frustrating!  I always look at the map beforehand and try to figure out how I should set up the booth; and I always have to set up before I know whether or not my neighbors will all be there.  Inevitably, the customers don’t come in the front like they should, but go around the side.  I’m usually tempted to just turn the products around to face the outside, but then I lose a whole table’s worth of display space!

I added a few more items to the displays this time around.  I made soap balls out of the leftover Miel Citron bars and called them Lemon Drops.  They looked pretty adorable wrapped up in tulle and terry cloth.  I also finally put up a fragrance free sign.  Not everyone looked at it, but it did save some people the embarrassment of trying to smell the scentless soaps.  My corner display unit finally arrived and it was the perfect place to show off the sea salt scrubs.  Every time, my booth looks snazzier and snazzier!

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All in all, a great day!

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Dublin Country Fair (May 2012)

Location: Street, MD 

Day of the Week: Saturday

Weather: Sunny with a slight chance of showers.  Hot enough to ruin one of my solid lotions.

Organization: Excellent.  Plenty of information before the event and plenty of help during the event.

Crowd Size: Generally small with the exception of a two hour rush.

Crowd Make-up: Lots of families. Plenty of children and quite a few dogs.  

Booth Fee: $30 for 10′ x 10′ outside

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Today was such a fantastic day in its own right, but especially fantastic given last week’s debacle!  This was a very well-organized fair.  When I arrived, there were multiple people to direct me to my booth.  The other vendors were helpful in getting my tent set-up.  Everyone pitched in.  Parking was quite far from my booth, but it was a pleasant day to walk.  The only real downside was that there were port-o-potties.  Ick.  I avoided peeing for the entire day (not hard given that I was sweating from the heat).

My new 10′ x 10′ Commercial E-Z UP Instant shelter with 4 zippered sides
was significantly easier to put up than my first tent (a Shelter Logic).  It was definitely worth splurging on the real thing!  I still asked for help spreading the legs out, but I probably could have done the whole thing by myself, even if it took me longer.  It also came with an awning and a place to affix a banner.  I didn’t use the sidewalls or awning today, but it was nice to have them.  In fact, it probably didn’t rain because I had them.  I used the E-Z Up Instant Shelters Deluxe Weight Bags – Set of 4 and, despite the wind, I felt totally secure about my tent.  They are heavy to lug around, but that’s the whole point–they weigh 40 pounds once you fill them.  I used pea pebbles rather than sand because it’s less messy if it spills, so it may have weighed slightly less than if I had filled it with sand (like they recommend).

I started finally making the displays look the way I want them to this time around.  When people walk into my tent, I want them to feel at home.  I want them to be able to visualize my products in their own bathroom.  So, I went out and got some soft, blue, terry cloth towels to put on the tables like runners, a hurricane vase with blue vase fillers, and various bath products.  I love the way it looked and I can’t wait until the shower caddies and display cases I ordered arrive.  I really think visual layers are important, so I’m looking for more ways to display things vertically.  In the meantime, I put one of the bins under a towel and placed the worker bees on and around it.  The tiered look was really nice and drew people’s eyes.  Check it out!